Bible reading for Dec 29.
2 Chronicles 34.
"...because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD." (34:27)
THE REDISCOVERED BIBLE. Josiah, the last good king of Judah (see also 2 Kgs 22), had a heart to turn the nation back to serve the one true God, their Lord (Deut 5:6-10; 6:4-5). In the process of restoring the temple a scroll of the Scriptures, likely Deuteronomy, was found and read. God's word brings comfort and assurance, but also reproof and correction (2 Tim 3:16). Like the people of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost Josiah was "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37), and he humbled himself before the Lord. In this Josiah exemplified what the Lord spoke through Isaiah, "But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isa 66:2). Josiah felt the reality and seriousness of God's word. He then reads aloud God's word to all the nation gathered in Jerusalem, to "all the people both great and small" (v 30). He then, as king, publicly renews their national covenant with God. Though judgment is coming upon the nation (the fall of Jerusalem and 70 years' exile in Babylon), this is a refreshing season of heaven-sent revival.
REFLECT. One thing we note again and again as we read through the Scriptures is how God's word itself transforms us. King Josiah, and the people along with him, heard the words of Deuteronomy as authoritative, as the word of their covenant with God. From speaking creation into existence to the life-giving proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus, God sends forth his word and his Spirit to call, convict, renew, and restore God's people to himself (Ezek 37:1-14; Isa 55:10-11; Heb 4:12). In the NT era the church service takes the same pattern, as Paul tells Timothy, "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching" (1 Tim 4:13; cf Acts 2:42; Col 3:16). And this is why we encourage reading through the Bible each year! Congratulations on your progress, and keep asking the Holy Spirit to illumine God's word to you. Ask him in prayer, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law" (Psalm 119:18). Do we feel its authority? Do we sense its power? May the Lord grant that you and I be among those who tremble at his word.
"Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." (20:4)
THE MILLENNIUM AND FINAL JUDGMENT. What is the thousand year period referred to in this passage? (vv 1-10) And when is it? Some hold that it is the same period as the church age ("thousand" being a symbolic way of saying "a long time"), or that the church itself will bring in Christ's kingdom, a golden age where the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth (and after that, Christ will return). Others, myself included, believe this to be a literal thousand-year period where Christ himself will rule on the earth before the final judgment. I have found a series of messages given by Dr. S. Lewis Johnson to be very helpful in understanding the various millennial systems. Listen to them (or read the PDFs) here. The great white throne judgment and the lake of fire (vv 11-15) reveal the final destination for Satan and for those who have refused Christ's offer of reconciliation. Though each person is judged by what he or she has done, as recorded in the books (plural), one's final destiny is determined by whether or not one's name is written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; cf Dan 12:1). The good news is that we can know in this life that our names are recorded in heaven (Lu 10:20-23). If we have seen that Jesus is God's Son, and have come in childlike faith to him, we can know that our names are already written there!
Image credit. The unveiling of the new Torah display at Trinity International University in Chicago, IL. Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.